I’ve known my sister, Hannah, her entire life. I met her the
day she was born. I was there when everyone first saw the purple and blue veins
on her left cheek. But, I don’t remember seeing them for the first time. I don’t
remember giving them much thought. For the past fifteen years, I can recall a
handful of days I or anyone in my family have spared a thought to those veins
on her cheek. I have spent much more time being jealous of her natural beauty.
But, today is one of those other days, one of that small
handful. Today my sister shares a story and it’s not the first of its kind. She
sits on the kitchen counter, eats an apple and says that it was photo
day for her soccer team. She describes posing for a profile shot with her left
cheek facing the camera.
“Don’t you want to face the other way?” The camerawoman asks as politely as possible.
“No, I’m fine.” She says and holds her ground.
“Are you sure?”
“No, I’m good.”
And then, having given up her crusade, “That’s some bruise! Did you get that in a soccer
“No,” and I know she must have shared an awkward smile and
laugh, “It’s a birthmark.”
And I’m sure the woman was not expecting that and I am in no
way attempting to ridicule her for her words. What I am trying to do, is revel
in the bravery and self-confidence of my fifteen-year-old sister. My sister,
who has stood in front of countless people, both children and adults, and dared
to be proud of her appearance.
“Is that a tattoo?” “No, it’s just a birthmark.”
“What happened to your face?” “It’s a birthmark.”
“Did someone hit you?” “No.”
“You know, when you get older, you could get plastic surgery. It would be like it was never there.”
I have only spared a handful of days like this, contemplating
my sister’s appearance and strength of character. I do not take notice of the purple and blue on her face. But, I know she thinks about it every
day. I know she sees it. I hope she continues to embrace it.
A haemangioma is a localised tumour of the skin and subcutaneous layer that results from an abnormal increase in blood vessels. One type is a port-wine-stain, a flat, pink, red, or purple lesion present at birth, usually at the nape of the neck.
They say birthmarks represent how you died in a past life.
Grantaire has had many of those, punished to re-do the whole hideous invention of life by some sadistic bastard up in the infinite darkness.
His first life was the failed rebellion. He was happy to die with Enjolras. If he was going to have to die at some point anyway, hand in hand with a god was a pretty damn great way to go.
17 years later he realized he was alive again, a dark spot on his chest where the bullet had hit all those years ago.
Every life he has involves Him. In every life he finds the Amis, the causes they’re fighting for differ on the time period. In every life he is forced to relive a massacre of his friends as they fight for equality, each of them young and bright eyed.
They don’t realize the cycle they’ve been forced into.
My family loves that old time religion (serious Freewill Baptists on my dad’s side and holy-rollin’, tongues-speakin’ Pentecostals on mama’s) but that doesn’t mean they don’t
indulge in good, creepy, magical stories and traditions well outside the realm of
Christianity. Most of their cautionary tales revolve around pregnancy and
reproduction for some reason, and my favorite by far is what they call markin’.
Pregnant women, according to both my mamaws, have special
powers. They wouldn’t phrase it that way, it sounds too pagan, but that’s
essentially what they mean. For example, if a pregnant woman becomes obsessed
with something, if she loves it too much or reacts to it with any emotion too
strong while she’s pregnant, she can mark her baby to have features or characteristics
that reflect the impact that object, person, idea, etc. made on her.